dc3 Art Projects is excited to debut Sean Caulfield’s latest large-scale sculptural installation Deadweight at Art Toronto 2017. Taking it’s title from a shipping term that refers to the how much cargo a vessel can safely carry, Deadweight continues Caulfield’s explorations into the impact of human interactions on the environment, here within the context of water.
Using traditional hand-cut printing techniques as a starting point, Sean Caulfield’s work blurs boundaries between the biological and the technological, and visions of the past and future. Informed by reports of nuclear waste dumped into the Arctic Ocean by the Soviet Union for over 40 years, and current struggles between economic growth and environmental sustainability, Deadweight encourages viewers to consider the ways our environment is being transformed by forces of urban and industrial growth.
While Caulfield’s work serves as a reminder of how short-sited and reckless humanity can be in its interactions with the environment, it also looks to broader themes of mutation, metamorphosis and regeneration, involving both the landscape and the individuals that inhabit it. Significant here is the roles that society, community and the individual have in the moment of change, and that crisis and change- whether it be environmental, political, or personal – is a potentially positive moment for rebirth, growth and courage.
Sean Caulfield is a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, and an internationally renowned printmaker. He holds an MFA from the University of Alberta and he has exhibited his prints, drawings and artist’s books extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Caulfield has received numerous grants and awards for his work and his Manning Hall Commission, The Flood, was on view at the Art Gallery of Alberta until August 2016.
The Arch: Plans for a Heterotopic Space Opera
dc3 Art Projects is proud to present Travis McEwen’s The Arch: Plans for a Heterotopic Space Opera at Art Toronto 2017. Working primarily within the medium of painting, McEwen’s work investigates themes of otherness, queerness, gender, and identity. In his latest body of work, created over the last two years, McEwen takes inspiration from the science fiction sub-genre of space operas to create an assemblage of marginal characters and liminal landscapes.
Historically, McEwen’s practice has been a portrait-focused investigation into the emotional, psychological and social experiences of being othered, and more recently has extended into how queer community and alternate spaces are constructed. Using a fierce and codefied colour palette, McEwen explores ideas of gender, marginalization, identity, isolation and markers of trauma, giving notional and composite figures a place in portraiture historically denied to them.
In The Arch: Plans for a Heterotopic Space Opera, McEwen expands his project to include landscapes alongside his portraiture, queering both these traditional genres of paintings with multiple readings of gender, identity, location and time. Within his otherworldly landscapes, spaces are created that suggest futurity, depicting possible dawns or dusks, perpetually liminal. Arches, pyramids, and other superstructures populate these vistas, and yet they evade specificity in order to be suggestive of many possibilities.
Hung salon style, McEwen’s paintings come together to create a space for otherness – a heterotopia, as described by Foucault – where the shared experiences of isolation and being othered becomes the basis for collective responses, creative replies, counter-publics and potentially, community. Here, prevailing sci-fi themes of world-building, both literal and figurative, become a site for the possibilities of new identities, modes of social organization, politics and environmental conditions, linking back to McEwen’s larger practice.
Travis McEwen was born in Red Deer, AB, Canada and holds a BFA from the University of Alberta, Edmonton and an MFA from Concordia University, Montreal. His work has been shown throughout Canada, including Latitude 53 (Edmonton, AB), Galerie La Centrale Powerhouse (Montreal, QC) and Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, NB), and included in Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta. McEwen is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Department of Art, Minneapolis, MN. The Arch: Plans for a Heterotopic Space Opera debuted at dc3 Art Projects in Fall 2017.